Here & Now - Simone Elizabeth Saunders

Date: Apr 16, 2024

About the artwork

This artwork consists of velvet, acrylic, wool, and metallic yarn on rug warp. It is included in the Here & Now exhibition at the Royal Alberta Museum until September 29, 2024. Learn more about the exhibition.

The AFA acquired this artwork through its Art Acquisition by Application program in 2023. This program is designed to acquire contemporary works of art by any eligible Alberta artist.

Artist statement:

The following is an excerpt of Simone Elizabeth Saunders' artist statement. Read the full artist statement

My work uplifts Black womanhood, and the resilience, joy and the strength of being a Black woman. Textiles engage upon a search for belonging, a connection to a community, to personal identity and a connection to Black history. I create narratives through cultural mythology, current iconography, and personal landscapes. A big source of inspiration within my work is Art Nouveau, an era in which female portraiture was highlighted and exuded tremendous grace and femininity. This is reflected within The Messenger, capturing a sensuality, mystery, vigor and charm amongst the vibrancy of colour. It is a style that I capture within my textiles which I have called, Black Nouveau.

Artist profile

Simone Elizabeth Saunders (she/her) is a textile artist based in Mohkinstsis - Calgary, Canada. She holds a B.F.A. with Distinction from the Alberta University of Arts in 2020. Her textiles are hand tufted in the medium of rug-making using a punch-needle and tufting machine.

Saunders explores themes of the diaspora, ancestorship and Black womanhood. Her colourful textiles highlight motifs and iconography from her Jamaican heritage and engage with socio-cultural factors reclaiming power from oppressive ideologies.

Simone has a career in the theatre arts, a previous B.F.A. from the University of Alberta’s Acting Conservatory. Weaving her theatre experiences and integrating dramatism and story-telling within her creations - Simone uplifts narratives of Black joy and resilience. 

​Simone was the recipient from Calgary Black Chambers 2023 Achievement Award for Arts, Media and Entertainment. Simone was named one of 20 "top Compelling Calgarians for 2022" and "Top 40 Under 40" of Calgarian Professionals, by Avenue Magazine. Simone was awarded the National Winner for the Bank of Montreal's 1st Art Competition in 2020. 


Go to the exhibition